The House Appropriations Committee panel that oversees higher education and workforce development programs on Thursday released its overall funding proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2024. Although it doesn’t include many details — the subcommittee is scheduled to mark up the bill on Friday, when those details will be hashed out — it would significantly affect many programs of importance to community colleges.
However, one victory for community college advocates is that the plan would preserve funding for the $65 million Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants program.
The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee bill would provide a discretionary total of $67.4 billion to the U.S. Education Department (ED), which is $12.1 billion (15%) below the FY23 enacted level and $22.6 billion below the Biden administration’s budget request, according to a summary of the bill. May’s bipartisan debt-ceiling agreement calls to reduce Labor-HHS-Education appropriations by 30%, but the House spending bills are using lower funding levels than those called for in the agreement.
The bill, which was released at our deadline, didn’t include many details, which the subcommittee will work on during the markup. However, the measure would eliminate funding for the Federal Work-Study program and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program. It also would level fund programs under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and keep the Pell Grant maximum award amount at $7,395.
The summary also noted that the bill would, in part, reduce funding for ED’s Office for Civil Rights by 25% from the FY23 enacted level, and it would eliminate ED’s communications office.
For U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) programs, the bill would provide a discretionary total of $9.8 billion, which is $4 billion (29%) below the FY23 enacted level and $5.7 billion below the president’s request.
It would eliminate programs such as Job Corps and Youth Training, as well as DOL’s Women’s Bureau.
Several education organizations were quick to criticize the proposal. The Association for Career and Technical Education and Advance CTE issued a joint statement, saying the proposed cuts “are likely to lead to major disruptions in connecting learners, including our nation’s most vulnerable populations, to CTE programs and the wider postsecondary and career opportunities these programs lead to.” They added: “CTE does not operate in a silo. Developing a robust, diverse workforce equipped with in-demand skills that can adapt to the evolving needs of employers requires meaningful and sustained investments throughout the wider education and workforce development ecosystem.”